Apprentice L.A.: Episode 13

Nothing will be more satisfying than seeing the final credits roll next week on The Apprentice: L.A., because that will signify the end of one of the worst seasons in reality television history — ranking somewhere between The Next Joe Millionaire and The Swan.

The show began with Donald Trump telling the final four candidates that they would be meeting with all the former Apprentice winners. Well, either someone forgot to tell original winner Bill Rancic about the meeting, or he wised up and bailed on the occasion, because only four winners showed up.

 
After the final four spent an hour drinking cocktails with the former winners, Season 2 champ Kelly Purdue informed the contestants that there was only one more task remaining, in which they would split into two teams.
Stefani & James and Nicole & Frank were told to pick two fired candidates to help them on their task. Stefani & James chose Aaron and Angela — two competent people without grudges. Nicole & Frank chose Tim (obviously) and Surya (inexplicably, since he hated all the ex-Arrows).

For their final task, the teams had to make another mini-movie, just like they did in Episode 9, only with access to a real set and professional actors. This time, the candidates had 60 seconds to shill an air freshener that reportedly "cages odors."

Stefani & James created a courtroom drama about a husband who stinks up the house — an easy concept to translate in one minute.

Brainiacs Nicole and Tim wanted something a little more humorous, so they set their commercial in — drumroll, please — a hospital. Because… there’s no place that’s funnier or stinkier than a hospital?

Frank knew that this was a bad idea. He said so, repeatedly. And yet, he acted as if he were powerless to change it. If they lost the task, he’d simply blame Nicole. Covering your ass: the sign of a true leader.

James took on directing duties for his ad, and he wasted time on his set forcing the actors to do take after take after take, even for single words like "interesting." Luckily, Stefani was the shoot’s producer (i.e., James’s boss), and she did what she could to rein him in and get most of their shots done on time.
 
Frank had to single-handedly run his set, because Nicole was sitting in the corner giggling with her boyfriend, Tim. Then the company executives showed up, at which point Nicole suddenly sprang into action and made a big to-do about product placement in the ad.

Stefani & James’s commercial wasn’t great, but they made good use of the footage they had and produced something that could conceivably run on television.

Nicole & Frank’s commercial, on the other hand, wasn’t funny; it was laughably bad. The acting was atrocious, Nicole’s editing was terrible, they introduced an additional plot about an emergency business meeting, and for comic effect, Frank put a "stinky bum" in the hospital scene.

Because homelessness is almost as funny as a trip to the hospital.

There could not have been a bigger slam dunk in Apprentice history. If the sponsoring company aired Nicole & Frank’s commercials, their product would be laughed off of store shelves.

Yet, the company execs didn’t have anything bad to say about either of the teams. They talked with Trump about Frank’s "passion" and the "nice way" Nicole had about her — the polite way of calling them talentless morons.

So instead of firing anyone, Trump told all four of the remaining candidates they’d be participating in the live Boardroom finale. Nobody was fired. The task meant nothing (except some free ad time for the episode’s sponsor). And there were neither nice moments nor interpersonal drama. The show wasn’t just bad; it was boring.

The most likely reason he didn’t fire anyone last night is that Donald Trump knows that nobody cares who he hires. The show continues to lose viewers, in part because none of the candidates is particularly impressive. I mean, I think Stefani is competent, but she just appeared on this show a week or two ago, from what I can remember.

It’s a sad end to a series that had such an enjoyable first season. The Apprentice is now little more than the product placements of The Price Is Right combined with the narrative laziness of a bad soap opera, without any of the redeeming qualities of either. The show will be back for a seventh season, but I won’t. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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